Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How the mainstream media demonises asylum seekers

Honestly, I think its hard not to get at least a little bit nervous with the current numbers of asylum seekers heading for Australian shores. It seems to be the number one issue in national politics this last week or so, and the media is all over it.

But an excellent expose by the good folks at Media Watch demonstrates how much of the coverage is fearmongering, rather than actual reporting. The use of grim, foreboding music to accompany footage of people arriving on boats; the distortion of Centrelink figures to inflate the apparent number of refugees who receive welfare payments. In stating that the amount of benefits paid to refugees has increased by 40% under the Rudd government, Channel 9's sensationalist reportage fails to point out that this period of time has coincided with the Global Financial Crisis, meaning welfare payments will have increased across the board.

Of course, I'm sure what Media Watch is doing here will be contemptuously dismissed as "the ABC's left-wing agenda" in some circles. But the program is only reiterating the actual information released by Centrelink, as opposed to the inflammatory interpretation of those figures by Channel 9. So the truth, when it is inconvenient to the Right, must clearly be left-wing propaganda.

You can watch the story here.


  1. I used to wonder why people worried so much about Rupert Murdoch having so much media power. Now I see why. He goes for the lowest common denominator simply because it sells. He appears to have no scruples -- so long as it brings in the money, he's fine with it all.

    Now, Rupert doesn't own Channel 9, but it is his brand of journalism that Channel 9 has been adopting over the years. I remember when A Current Affair, hosted by Jana Wendt, was a quality current-affairs program, not sensationalist garbage chasing the advertising dollars aimed at the bogan market as it has become now.

    Longevity, I've heard, comes through the mitochondrial DNA. Since Rupert's mother is still around, it seems Rup will still be around for quite a while to come.

    Oh, great!

  2. Murdoch owns 60% of the worlds media. You know theres something wrong when one man has control over half the worlds information outlets.

    i love media watch. they certainly keep some of the more trashy journalism broadcasted on the commercial stations in check!

  3. what I hate most is the term "illegal immigrants"... people not realising that most illegal immigrants are from the English speaking world. In fact I know a guy whose marriage went bust before he got the paperwork finalized. He's now here illegally, but finding ways to prolong his stay... he's running away from oppressive cold weather.

  4. ^ The term "illegal immigrants" is John Howard's contribution to our country. His government popularised this term through extensive use, so that more correct terms such as "asylum seekers" were marginalised. Obviously some immigrants are here illegally, but I believe the UN convention of refugees allows people to go to a country to seek asylum.